The Christ Commission: A Novel

The Christ Commission: A Novel

by Og Mandino

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In front of eight million TV viewers, "The Greatest Mystery Writer in the World" bragged he could prove Christ was actually stolen from the tomb and never really rose from the dead . . . if he were given just one week back in ancient Jerusalem.  That night author Matt Lawrence got his wish.  A knock-out punch took him right out of this world and landed him in Biblical Judea in 26 A.D., just six years after the execution of Jesus at Golgotha.  In relentless pursuit of his investigation, Lawrence walked the same streets Jesus walked, visited the same places . . . and found himself facing the same dangers.  Eyewitness reports might lead him to a discovery that would shake the world--but will he live long enough to tell the 30th century that he just solved the greatest mystery of all time?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307780898
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/02/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 338,428
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Og Mandino is one of the most widely read inspirational and self-help authors in the world. Former president of Success Unlimited magazine, Mandino was the first recipient of the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal Award for literary achievement. Og Mandino was a member of the Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame and was honored with a Master of Influence Award by the National Speakers Association. Og Mandino died in 1996, but his books continue to inspire countless thousands all over the world.

Read an Excerpt

I SETTLED BACK into the crushed ebony velour of the Cadillac limousine’s spacious rear seat and checked my Omega. The ride to NBC’s Burbank Studios, according to the public relations people handling my tour, would take at least fifty minutes in the late-afternoon traffic.
This was the big one, a perfect climax to three weeks of newspaper interviews, personal appearances on radio and television talk shows, and autograph parties in bookstores from coast to coast. If only I had known how big this night was going to rank in my life, I might have remained in my room at the Century Plaza, double-locked the door, and watched television in my pajamas.
“Ever been on the Carson show before, Mr. Lawrence?”
I shook my head at the inquisitive brown eyes squinting back at me from the distant rearview mirror. Although I was heading for my sixty-first media appearance in twenty days, I felt tense for the first time. I had already managed to conduct myself on the Donahue show with some measure of aplomb, visited with Merv, joked with Snyder, and even held hands with Dinah. So why the butterflies now? I closed my eyes and tried to relax, hoping the Tanner limo people had sent a chauffeur who was not a talker. No such luck.
“I’ve read a lot of your books, Mr. Lawrence. Ter-r-r-r-ific! My wife and I, we both love ’em.”
“You’re very kind,” I replied, before I could stop myself. Reflex action. A simple phrase used repeatedly by many authors to acknowledge the heady and often embarrassing praise heaped on them by their fans. I had never realized how banal those words sounded until I shared an autograph session with Erma Bombeck and we caught each other mouthing the same response as we signed our weary signatures. Erma thought it was hilarious, but we both decided to be more creative in the humility department from then on.
My driver skillfully eased his glistening chariot out of the hotel’s Mercedes-cluttered circular driveway and onto the Avenue of the Stars. “You must be some kind of smar-r-rt man, Mr. Lawrence, yessir! A genius! Don’t know how you think up all those impossible crimes and then put all the pieces together. Never have been able to figure out who the murderer is until the very last pages. Never! Your stuff is even better than those old Sherlock Holmes things—yessir!”
“Thank you.”
I tilted my head back and closed my eyes again, taking care not to cross my legs and wrinkle the Calvin Klein brown tweed that my wife, Kitty, had insisted I wear for the “Tonight Show.” Sherlock Holmes, did the man say? As we glided on our radial cushions toward Burbank, I tried to keep my mind off the show by recalling all the masters of mystery fiction I had been compared with during the tour. Rex Stout and Agatha Christie had been mentioned often, as well as my favorite, S. S. Van Dine. John Dickson Carr’s name had also come up frequently, and Ellery Queen had been suggested by a Chicago Sun- Times reporter who didn’t know that two cousins, Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay, had written under the Queen pseudonym and that Mr. Lee had now gone on to that great inner sanctum in the sky. One intense young woman from Writer’s Digest had even compared what she gushingly called the “vivid realism” of my writing to France’s best, Georges Simenon. The temptation had been strong to tell her that she was being “very kind,” but I resisted. Everyone enjoys a little flattery, even when they know it’s not true.
With all twenty-six of my detective novels still available in paperback and selling as well as when they were first published, both Kitty and my publishers had argued against my going on tour. She had insisted that it was an unnecessary intrusion on my time and energy and they agreed, maintaining that every Matt Lawrence book always made the best-seller lists anyway. Still, I prevailed. I had never been on an author’s promotional merry-go-round before, and I thought the experience would be a good change of pace. It might even supply me with some fresh story material.
Looking back, I had enjoyed every silly day and night of it, as Elia Kazan had said I would. I had no idea whether my appearances had helped or hurt the sales of my latest effort, Where Weep the Silver Willows, but now that it was ending for me, after Carson, I almost regretted having to return to the quiet serenity of our Camelback Mountain home, high above the city of Phoenix.
Exactly forty-eight minutes after I entered the limousine it turned off West Alameda into a forest of high wire fencing, paused at an inner gate long enough for the guard to recognize my driver, and then eased alongside an unmarked door. I thanked my enthusiastic fan behind the steering wheel and went in, immediately recognizing the small, anxious blonde from my publisher’s public relations firm. She had almost given me a coronary yesterday morning, by expertly demonstrating the high-speed cornering ability of her Porsche 924 after we had fallen behind schedule for a taped interview in the posh patio coffee shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
“Hi, Mary—or should I start calling you Mario?”
She ignored my weak attempt at humor. “Oh, Mr. Lawrence, we were beginning to worry. Gee, you look great! Just like that handsome hunk in the Wind Song perfume commercials!”
“Well, young lady, never having seen those commercials, I don’t know whether I’m being complimented or placed in a category that I doubt would appeal to me.”
She ignored my weak attempt at humor. “Oh, Mr. Lawrence, we were beginning to worry. Gee, you look great! Just like that handsome hunk in the Wind Song perfume commercials!”
“Well, young lady, never having seen those commercials, I don’t know whether I’m being complimented or placed in a category that I doubt would appeal to me.”
She tossed her head saucily and laughed. “Oh, yes you do! Follow me. I’ll take you to the famous green room. The other guests are all there, I think. Taping will begin in about thirty minutes.”
Inside the green room—that isn’t green—Mary introduced me to a young man on Johnny Carson’s staff whose name was Alfred. Then she kissed me lightly on the cheek, wished me luck, and was gone. Alfred asked if I would like to meet the other guests on the show, and I said I would. First I shook hands with Charles Nelson Reilly, comedian and director. Reilly admitted to having been a Lawrence fan for years and proved it by rattling off at least a dozen titles of mine. I responded by complimenting him for his sensitive direction of the Julie Harris tour de force portraying Emily Dickinson’s troubled life.
Next, Jimmy Stewart, looking bigger than life, came over and introduced himself. We found our common ground quickly, having both served in the Eighth Air Force during World War II. Finally, I shook hands with a ravishing brunette singer, Donna Theodore, who reminded me very much of our old squadron’s favorite pin-up girl, Jane Russell.
Eventually the friends of the guests were courteously asked to leave, and the four of us were left to uplift each other’s waning courage. We failed miserably. There’s something so mind-boggling, even to show-biz personalities, in knowing that what you say and do will be shown to fifteen million people that only a lunatic or a complete fool would not feel inhibited. Except for a few throwaway remarks about the ubiquitous smog and California’s Jerry Brown, little was said by any of us until we heard Ed McMahon exclaim, “He-e-e-re’s Johnny!” and everyone gratefully directed their undivided attention toward the huge RCA television set.
Johnny’s monologue chided the Los Angeles Dodgers for their long losing streak, needled the current Congress for its inability to pass any legislation except another raise for its members, and unloaded on used-car dealers whose opinion of their own sales abilities is so inflated that they insist on appearing in their own obnoxious television commercials with props ranging from boa constrictors to Dolly Parton look-alikes. Charles Nelson Reilly almost made me forget my nervousness when he described his run-in with a coast guard cutter while desperately trying to bring a runaway engine on his small boat under control. Then Jimmy Stewart showed film clips of a forthcoming special he was hosting, on another network, dealing with unidentified flying objects, and Donna Theodore belted out two rock hits that seemed completely implausible, to me, coming from such a regal and lovely woman.
Alfred startled me. “You’re in luck, Mr. Lawrence!”
“Oh? How is that?”
“You’re on right after the next two-minute station break, and it looks as if you’ll have as much as fourteen or fifteen minutes with Mr. Carson.”
“Wonderful! That will put me right up there with Carl Sagan and Paul Ehrlich!”
“What? Oh, yes … that’s funny. Fun-ny.” He wasn’t smiling. “Can you handle that much time okay?”
Having done nearly two hours, only three nights earlier, on Larry King’s network radio show, I patted Alfred’s fuzzy cheek and replied, “I’ll try, son, I’ll try.”
“Follow me, sir … and please watch your step. It’s rather dark, backstage.”
The band was playing on the other side of the curtain, entertaining the studio audience while the viewers across the nation were being instructed on the benefits of Alpo dog food and Jaymar slacks. Alfred leaned close to my right ear and shouted, “Stand here, please, until I pull back the curtain. Then—step out, take three steps forward, and turn right toward Mr. Carson. Careful you don’t stumble when you step up onto that platform around his desk!”

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